srijeda, 6. veljače 2013.

Pierre-Yves Macé - Passagenweg (2009)

Miks komorne klasike i zvukovnih kolaža: semplovi francuskih šansona '20-ih i '30-ih propušteni kroz distorzirani vremenski stroj. Kako zvuči putovanje kroz minijaturnu crnu rupu u starom gramofonu.

Passagenweg (nadahnuće Benjaminom je očito) jedno je od najboljih muzičkih djela posljednjih desetljeća.


Miniatures - Song Recycle  (2012)



Miniatures - Song Recycle, as the title suggests, alternates musique concrète studies and songs in the form of lieder, where the voice is made of recycled, chopped and transformed a cappella vocals from YouTube, accompanied by the composer/pianist. 

Passagenweg (2009) streaming

FREE GIFT Download the recording of Pierre-Yves's live version of Passagenweg that he performed at the Brocoli festival #1 on October 5th 2006 FREE DOWNLOAD!

After three albums on Tzadik, Sub Rosa and Orkhêstra, setting instrumental compositions - or improvisations - for small ensembles against electroacoustic treatments, the young French composer Pierre-Yves Macé now presents his first full-scale work of musique concrète.

Passagenweg takes its inspiration from philosopher Walter Benjamin’s (1892-1940) Arcades project, an unfinished lifelong attempt to document industrial modernity through Parisian iron-and-glass covered "arcades".
The Surrealists, such as Aragon, said they were inspired by the outdated goods to be found in these arcades. Likewise, Macé revives samples of popular French music from the 1920’s and 30’s, filtered through musique concrète and laptop music manipulations.
Passagenweg is profoundly original music, the chance meetings of gramophone cracklings and digital glitches, of sweet orchestration and saturated drones. It alternates between ambient soundscapes, melodic lines and fractured collages, all the while remaining lyrical, mysterious and melancholic.
In the dialectical image, what has been within a particular epoch is always, simultaneously, what has been from time immemorial” (Walter Benjamin)

Crash-Test II

‎ (CD, Album)
Orkhêstra 2006


Circulations seems in awe of how a person or musical event, once groundless, begins to give itself a content or place of grounding; it is a work interested in the relationship aspect of experience and how - without reason or premeditation - one casts out into the world and brings back limitations, forms and values. French musician Pierre-Yves Macé forges such a path by proceeding with four largely impulsive movements for percussion, guitar, harp and clarinet and bringing them into interference with live processing.
Much like a genial conversation, there is interchange and blending, yet neither aspect loses its character; both traits manifest more clearly when meshed. Each composition sketches chapters that from conception to conflict, denouement to resolution, maintain a particular rhythmic movement; there is a degree of unity and distinction to each episode. Continued acceleration is breathless, preventing parts from achieving distinction; the self-identity of each chapter lends definiteness and interesting peculiarity. The first piece, for instance, opens with the infrequent rattle of a snare drum rushing out from a forest of silence. It is stained by a metallic tone, humming in the tree-tops at higher registers and sending the once boisterous drum pattern back into the mossy foliage of feedback and chirping tape hiss. As the movement reoccurs, the contrasting elements grow more defined in their relation to one another; the atmosphere suggests a vast metallic tundra filled out with dangling flute icicles, howling guitar winds and tiny melodic buds trying to bloom through the frost.
Truly, one may take appreciation in Circulations for more than merely its theoretical presence. The fluffy, single-stringed guitar motifs of the "2nd Movement" walk solemnly across a dewy grass of electronics while a fine dust of ambience is seen in a shaft of light, stirred by the hurried passing of croaking crickets. On the "3rd Movement" for harp, meanwhile, aspects almost fail to register altogether. Turn it up and the piece reveals itself to be a finely shifting mist of bell-like overtones and what sounds like the soft tooting of baby owls. As a piece of music, it's pleasant enough, but its power lies in its elusive structuring and how it subtly frames and colors successive events.
These descriptions aside, by and large the emotional element of Circulations is not representational; its arrangements do not refer back to the ordinary emotions of life - they exhibit concern purely for the shapes of forms, their relations and quantities and qualities. In this way, Macé strips music back to its most basic timbres before building it back up with driving oscillations of flamboyancy and motion. Through his intentions, these creations are silvery, brittle moments of sound. - Max Schaefer

Pierre-Yves Macé has had a fairly atypical career for a contemporary classical composer.  Despite his youth (he was born in 1980), he has already released three albums of electro-acoustic ensemble works (his debut album was released by John Zorn's Tzadik) and has opened for decidedly non-classical artists such as Matmos.  He is currently working on a PhD in musicology with a specific interest on field recording.  I suspect Passagenweg was conceptually birthed during those studies, but it does not seem especially sterile or academic.
The album opens in strange, yet some somewhat promising fashion.  "Angelus  Novus" gradually fades in with a dull, hobbling snare rhythm that is gradually eclipsed by the engulfing roar of a crackling and wavering sustained chord.  Then the chord disappears, leaving a haunting, dreamlike waltz loop in its place.
After that, the album becomes very collage-y and difficult to discern where one track ends and another begins without staring unblinkingly at my CD player.  A few tracks stand out as particularly enjoyable and coherent, however.  "Il Principe il Ranocchio, 1" sustains a hazy ambience of schmaltzy strings and a churchbell that is intermittently encroached upon by field recordings and an exuberant antique piano recording.  Eventually the schmaltzy strings seem to overpower the interloping elements, but then the loop is stretched and mangled before being abruptly cut out altogether.  The following track is made up some submerged and seemingly understated glitchery, but then the track after that ("Ranocchio, 2") revisits the same string theme.  It is unclear what it all means or how the glitch interlude is related. I suspect it isn't, but perhaps Macé's vision is simply too complex and enigmatic for me to grasp. Later, "Nocturnorama" essentially condenses the entire album into a 15 minute microcosm, shifting endlessly between scratchy big band recordings, radio dial-turning randomness, crackling melodramatic strings, and pastoral Eno/Budd ambience.
Passagenweg is a bit of complex and challenging listen, as a whole. It never achieves what I would call "beauty", but often attains a sort of creepy, otherworldly and bittersweet nostalgia. Lamentably, this mood is always quite fleeting, as the album is packed full of harsh juxtapositions, noise, and violent cut-ups.  On the other hand, annoying repeating loops and unpleasant dissonance often unexpectedly transform into something shimmering, compelling, or unexpected. Surprises abound, both positive and otherwise.
The obvious peril with utilizing exotic source material for a sound-collaging is that listeners will find the raw materials more interesting than what you have done with them. Passagenweg does not entirely avoid this peril: there were many moments on the album where I dearly wished that Macé would stop chaotically mutilating and combining gramophone snippets and/or applying watery, insubstantial reverbed piano or strings and let the source material unfold without him.  But, alas, that would not be Art.  I'm afraid my sensibility clashes somewhat with Macé's, but there are a lot of unique textures and flashes of surreal inspiration here.  Also, while Macé does an excellent job concealing his formal classical training, Passagenweg lacks the humor and perverseness that make vaguely similar forays by Nurse With Wound and The Caretaker so enjoyable.  Someday this may grow on me more, but for now I think Passagenweg is an inspired near-miss. - Anthony D'Amico


French composer Pierre-Yves Mace (1980) worked at the border of chamber music and tape collage.
Faux-Jumeaux (Tzadik, 2002) collects four chamber compositions: Evocation (2000), Defense de Voir Au-dedans (2002), Le Sentiment de la Nature aux Buttes-Chaumont (2001), Faux-Jumeaux (1999).
Circulations (Sub Rosa, 2005) is typical of his aesthetic: Mace entrusted four solo compositions (for drums, guitar, harp and clarinet) to four performers and then mixed them with his own tape collages of the four instruments.
Similarly, Crash Test II (Tensional Integrity) (Orkhestra, 2006) is a work for quartet of string quartet and tape collage.
Mace also collaborated with Sylvain Chauveau and Steven Hess on Second Souffle (Brocoli, 2007).
Passagenweg (Brocoli, 2009) collects music composed with samples of early French chansons and found sounds.
Circulations (Sub Rosa, 2011) contains four pieces for four solo instruments (drums, guitar, harp, clarinet) revised and enhanced by computer. -

Born in 1980, France, Pierre-Yves Macé discovers music by improvising on machines, and then learns piano, classical percussion, plays along with jazz-rock / prog-rock bands, and accompanies contemporary and modern dance lessons. Studies in literature and musicology follow.
His first recording, Faux-Jumeaux, was released on John Zorn’s Tzadik label in 2002. Circulations, released on Sub Rosa in 2005, and Crash_test ii (tensional integrity) for string quartet released on Orkhêstra in 2006.
Residencies at CalArts (Los Angeles), CNMAT (Berkeley) in 2004, GRM (Paris) in 2006 and 2008. He played for the festivals Octobre en Normandie, MIMI, Villette Sonique, Brocoli, Transnumériques. He opened for Matmos, Richard Chartier, Andrew Bird, among others.
He has collaborated with ON (Sylvain Chauveau & Steven Hess) on the Second Souffle album (2007, Brocoli 003), pop band That Summer, Louisville, artist Gaëlle Hippolyte, writers Mathieu Larnaudie & Philippe Vasset.
He is also requested as a pianist and as a sound engineer for mixing and mastering (Sylvain Chauveau, Rainier Lericolais, Vincent Epplay & Sébastien Roux).
He is a member of the Encyclopédie de la parole (speech encyclopaedia) crew, a project whose goal is to constitute a compositional plan through which different forms of recorded speeches may be compared.
Since 2003, he works on a Musicology PhD about phonography and “sound document” in contemporary music. He lives and works in Paris.


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